Elkhorn Creek - Forks of Elkhorn US460 Bridge to Knight's Bridge on KY1900 (6 miles)


Elkhorn Creek, Kentucky, US

Disclaimer

Forks of Elkhorn US460 Bridge to Knight's Bridge on KY1900 (6 miles) (Elkhorn Gorge)

Usual Difficulty II(III) (varies with level)
Length 7.6 Miles
Avg. Gradient 10 fpm

Gauge Information

Name Range Difficulty Updated Level
ELKHORN CREEK NEAR FRANKFORT, KY
usgs-03289500 250 - 6500 cfs II(III) 04h17m 280 cfs (running)
Very low & shallow, but good for beginners


River Description

"Church Wave"

Located about a 45 minute drive from Lexington, KY, the "Gorge" section begins at the confluence of the Creek's north and south tributaries at the Forks of the Elkhorn bridge on US 460 just east of Frankfort,KY. This stream has proven to be an excellent ww classroom and play place for paddlers from across Kentucky, Indiana, and Ohio. Full of mostly class II rapids, with the occasional class III hydraulic, the Elkhorn is a stream with plenty to satisfy the novice or experienced whitewater paddler.

 

The view looking upstream at "LunchStop"

Lots of dynamic play spots and wide enough to generally stay free of strainers, the Elkhorn has a large watershed allowing it typically to keep its flow longer after a rain and is the place to paddle when others in Central Kentucky have become too low.
Watch out for the dangerous, drowning machine dam about 3/4 mile into the run at the bourbon distillery and portage only on river left. Note that this dam can be a very dicey portage at gauge levels above 3000 cfs (3+ feet on US460 bridge) The picture below was taken at a level of about 1000 cfs (1 foot).

 

Jim Beam Distillery dam downstream view - note boaters portaging and putting in below dam on river left.

AW Acres, just down stream of Knight's bridge is the land purchased for use as a takeout by individual paddlers and donated to American Whitewater as access of the Elkhorn for all private paddlers.


AW Acres takeout (looking from the creek). A gravel parking area has been added since this picture was taken.

To read more about the creek, how the takeout land was obtained, and history of the paddler/land-owner interactions, check out the online American Whitewater Journal article "AW Acres: The Elkhorn Saga" that appeared in the March/April 2000 issue.

Shuttle Directions:

Putin: Forks of the Elkhorn Bridge on US 460 about 3 miles east of Frankfort,KY. Parking next to the bridge costs $3 - pay at the Elkhorn Creek Campground office just upstream on the South Fork of the Elkhorn.

Takeout: From the Forks Bridge take US 460 west towards Frankfort and take a right at the stoplight onto KY 2822. Go about 1 mile on KY 2822 to the stop sign. Go right onto Steadmantown LN (actually a continuation of KY 2822) for about 2.5 miles to the stop sign at the intersection with Peaks Mill Rd (Ky 1900). Go about 4 miles and look for AW Acres takeout on the left just before Knight's Bridge over the Elkhorn.

Other Information Sources:  
Blue Grass Wildwater Association
BWA Elkhorn Creek page

National Paddling Film Festival
Video of C-1 caught in dam recirculation
Video about Removing or changing the distillery dam
Video of Dam Rapid
Video of IKs at 3000 cfs


StreamTeam Status: Not Verified
Last Updated: 2013-06-20 21:23:53

Editors


Rapid Summary

Mile Rapid Name Class Features (Legend)
0.0US 460 BridgeN/APutin Photo
0.2Church WaveIPhoto
0.7Distillery BridgesN/A
0.9Distillery DamN/APortage Hazard Photo
0.9Dam RapidII
1.5S Turn Rapid II+Photo
2.0Lunch StopIIPhoto
3.6Island splitN/A
3.7AngioplastyIIPhoto
3.8Surf CityIPhoto
7.6Elkhorn Acres - take outN/ATakeout Photo

Rapid Descriptions

US 460 Bridge (Class N/A)

Putin

Putin
Photo taken 02/12/11

There is a small fee to park and put in at this bridge.  Pay at the campground office. 



Church Wave (Class I, Mile 0.2)

The Dam that forms the Church Ledge

The Dam that forms the Church Ledge
Photo of Church Ledge Dam by Dale Perry taken 10/02/05 @ 46 cfs

Within sight of the put in, are several small rapids.   The middle one has the remains of a low dam arching across the river.  This low structure forms Church Wave.  It can develop decent hydraulics, creating a good beginner's play spot at higher levels. 



Distillery Bridges (Class N/A, Mile 0.7)

The river curves gradually right around the Jim Beam Distillery.   As you pass underneath these bridges, head towards river left and prepare to portage the low head dam. 



Distillery Dam (Class N/A, Mile 0.9)

Portage Start

Portage Start
Photo by Paul Martzen taken 02/24/08 @ medium

A river wide horizon line is formed by a low head dam.  It is near the end of a long gradual right hand curve around the Jim Beam Distillery.   A dangerous reversal forms at the base of the dam and gets worse as flows increase.   Portage the dam on river left.   The take out here is small and difficult to see.  At higher flows there is room only  for one boat at a time to get out.  A series of rock ledges provide a portage path.    Make sure you put back in well downstream of the dam recirculation.   People have been sucked back into the dam when they put in too close. 



Dam Rapid (Class II, Mile 0.9)

After portaging the dam on river left, boaters must paddle out towards the center of the river to run a significant rapid.   This can involve ferrying across the current to get into position.



S Turn Rapid (Class II+, Mile 1.5)

S-Turn

S-Turn
Photo of Cynthia Grimes by barry grimes taken 10/04/04 @ 1800cfs

The S-turn rapid is the first big rapid after the dam rapid. S-turn has an impressive diagonal wave, which seems to be at maximum height around 1500-2000 cfs.

 



Lunch Stop (Class II, Mile 2.0)

The scene at LunchStop

The scene at LunchStop
Photo of Todd Garland by barry grimes taken 10/04/04 @ 1800cfs


Island split (Class N/A, Mile 3.6)

The river splits around a long island.



Angioplasty (Class II, Mile 3.7)

contemplating the surf

contemplating the surf
Photo of Dave Lang by Matt Hernandez taken 05/29/10 @ 900 cfs

This hole can pack a punch.  Possibly class 3 at higher flows.



Surf City (Class I, Mile 3.8)

Lower waves in SurfCity

Lower waves in SurfCity
Photo by barry grimes taken 10/04/04 @ 1800cfs


Elkhorn Acres - take out (Class N/A, Mile 7.6)

and still more Elkhorn Acres

and still more Elkhorn Acres
Photo of The takeout by Dale Perry @ medium

Pass under the Peaks Mill Road bridge (KY 1900), then pull out on river left.  The take out  very close to the bridge is for Canoe Kentucky customers.   The public take out is about 100 yards below the bridge.   

There is a large parking area in a field.   The photo shows the field flooded during very high water.




User Comments


2012-03-05 10:21:33 (962 days ago)
millOH (153957)
Note: Although class II, use caution with beginners especially in cold temps. Cannot comment on
ranges between 800 and 1600-1700 cfs, but during our run at our higher level, current was swift and
almost constant. Our guy had several swims. The current made his swims long and gear retrieval
difficult. Had to hike him out with mild hypothermia setting in. Strainer in the current at S-turn
if the move across the waves is not made.

2011-08-16 08:51:43 (1164 days ago)
DonaldB (152289)
Many trees and limbs came down after the latest batch of thunderstorms. A few passages are blocked,
and a riverwide log is down between the dam rapid and S-turn. Caution is advised.

2011-07-26 08:42:44 (1185 days ago)
Chris StoopsDetails
7/25/11 600 CFS Trip Report. The night before Elkhorn was running at 1000 CFS and so my brother and
I made plans to run Elkhorn the next day. We thought the level would be around 700 CFS by the time
we put in. I have run it at 700 CFS and Surf City was pretty good at that level. We ran it a few
days later at 800 CFS and Surf City was great at that level. I once ran Elkhorn at 500 CFS in a
Coleman raft and swore I would never run it at that level again. Much later I ran it at 350 CFS and
had a blast, which made me think 500 CFS might be a good level as long as you're in a kayak. We
decided to use Canoe Kentucky for a shuttle. They charged us $25 for two kayaks and at 1p.m. they
have you follow them to the AW takeout and then haul you and your stuff to the put-in. We figured
the campground charges $4 for parking, and so subtract that from the $25 and you are left with $21,
which is about what we would have spent on gas bringing another vehicle anyhow(it's 100 miles of
driving including the shuttle). Church Wave was a total bust, but we found a couple rope swings
before the dam and had a good time with that. It had rained earlier and I said I bet Elkhorn will
be at 1000 CFS tomorrow, and it turned out I was right. Before the dam there is a cool cascade on
river left and we decided to hike up it. The cold water on our feet felt great and eventually we
got to a spring. I washed my face in the water and it smelled like gasoline, my brother thought so
also. The surf wave on river right after the dam was at it's prime in a way. It gets bigger at
higher levels, but at 600 CFS, not only was it big, but it also had eddy service. It required a
very strong brace to keep you from turning and flushing out of it. There was a cool waterfall that
was about 10 feet wide and 30 feet tall. It only took us 30 seconds to hike up the hill to check it
out, and it was so cold that I'm sure it's spring fed. S-turn was pretty weak, but at least the
lateral wave was in, which I surfed all along as it flushed me out. Lunch Stop was also a bust, and
so was Surf City. We hung out at Surf City anyhow just to lay in the creek and cool off. There was
a tiny surf wave on river right, but it wasn't much at all. The Angioplasty side had more water,
but Angioplasty was not in at all. The wave directly after the large boulder on river right(this
rapid needs a name and it needs to be added to AW) was in. The level was low enough that I could
finally see what causes this wave; a large drop forces a ton of flow directly at a V shaped 2 foot
ledge. This wave gets huge at higher levels, but at 600 CFS it was almost more of a hole than a
wave. I tried surfing the wave and water from both sides of the V filled me up and it took a lot of
effort just to get out of it. The 2 mile section through the woods moved along great for the first
half, but the second half is so slow. As slow as it was, we were still able to just lay around in
our boats and let the current do all the work. By the end of the trip we were pretty exhausted due
to a climbing and caving trip we did the day before. All in all it was a great trip, escaping the
summer heat, and at least we got to surf it up at the Dam Rapid. During the flat water stretches we
took lots of swims and we would float down the creek letting our PFDs do all the work while we put
our feet on top of our boats, our bodies in a hammock like position.

2011-07-26 08:42:28 (1185 days ago)
Chris StoopsDetails
The bridge pillar after S-turn has a strainer on the upstream side. A lady got pinned between it
and her canoe, read the report below for more details: 7-8-2011 1050 CFS Trip Report. As soon as My
girlfriend and I park next to the creek at the camp ground and start filling up our duckies, two
ladies ask for a ride to the main office of the camp ground where they parked their cars.
Apparently as soon as they put in they both capsized at I think Church Wave, sunk their hardshells,
and swam towards log strainers which they used to grab on to and pull themselves out of the creek.
Church wave was almost more of a hole than a wave at that level, and it filled up our duckies with
the quickness. We got to the dam and two fishermen had to put their lines in right above the dam
where we needed to portage. They were at least nice enough to real in their lines to let us
through. We get to the dam to find a whole mess of tubers standing in the way but we managed to
squeeze by and get our boats to the end of the limestone shelf. After that two ladies with
hardshell kayaks(no spray skirts) start to put in where the current is heading towards the dam. I
talked them out of it and explained that there had already been a bad incident from putting in
there. After we put in after the dam we ferried across to catch the wave on river right. It was big
and I ended up getting sideways in it and it flipped me. Next we got to S-turn, it was quite tame
at that level. The lateral wave wasn't there, but after the two large standing waves was a nice
surf wave. We re-ran the rapid and I was expecting to see those two ladies but never did. Lunch
stop was a very odd wave. It was like 3 waves all right next to each other crashing in different
directions. I wasn't able to catch it though. We saw all the tubers go by on some rapids. Most of
them were carrying beer coolers, and it looked like an absolute blast. Surf City was great, but it
didn't have the excellent eddy service I am used to. We mostly walked above the rapid and put back
in to re-run it. I found out you can use the eddy, ferry, and then catch the slack water behind the
wave to re-run it without having to get out of your boat, but this method actually uses more energy
than just getting out of your boat and walking above it. The rapid with the giant boulder on river
right that sits in the creek had a great surf wave. It was the biggest wave I saw all day. We took
out at the spot right after the last rapid and my plan was to just hitch a ride to the campground.
There was a group of people their trying to put a giant canoe in the back of a small truck. I asked
them for a ride and they said yes. They noticed a couple of bent aluminum bars on the canoe and I
asked what happened, but one of them replied "I don't want to talk about it". I asked them if they
saw the tubers and they said one guy didn't have a tube and was using nothing but a cooler. I'm
sure he popped it because they were just cheap walmart tubes. My older brother thought of a good
idea, use one of those tubes that boats pull at the lake, they are nylon covered. 1000 CFS looks
like a good max for tubing, but of course strainers would pose a big threat considering you don't
even have a paddle, but you could still scout rapids from the banks. (Disclaimer: this is a
horrible idea and you should use appropriate craft). My girlfriend waited there with the kayaks and
never did see those two ladies from the dam, my guess is that they didn't make it. On the drive I
asked again "so really what happened with the canoe". One of them replied that they all vowed to
never talk about it again. After a moment of silence a guy starts telling this story "we ran this
rapid and flipped the canoe. My wife gets swept in to a bridge pillar(I think he is referring to
the one after S-turn) then the canoe pins her against the log. I tried to lift the canoe but I
couldn't. I get a huge adrenaline rush and lift the canoe with everything I got and free her.
Adrenaline is great when you need it but every muscle in my body is killing me right now." I reply
about how once I was on the Middle Red and a canoe got pinned and it took 8 of us to lift it. I
made a video of us surfing at Surf City. Keep in mind it was my girlfriends second trip ever that
involved surfing. She did fine at Church Wave surfing sideways leaning downstream not letting any
water in the boat, but when I convinced her to straiten out the boat and face it upstream, water
poured right over the bow and filled up the boat. The same thing happened to me when I tried it. In
the video I kept trying to do a 360. I had already done two good ones earlier but didn't get them
on video. At the end of the video I finally pull one off, but it's not a very good one. Here is the
video: http://vimeo.com/26392934

2011-06-05 09:33:04 (1236 days ago)
DonaldB (152289)
There is a root ball/log at the entrance to 'Island Split' that appears to have moved further out
into the current. If you run this rapid at lower summer levels, be aware much of the current flows
straight into the strainer and requires very good boat control to avoid. You also have water
pushing in from the left through the island further complicating things.

2009-10-24 12:52:22 (1825 days ago)
Chris StoopsDetails
My brother made an awesome compilation of our 3000 CFS trip. The first rapid you see in the video,
where we are surfing, is Surfcity. I decided to skirt around Angioplasty, and those big standing
waves, and the lateral wave is of course S-turn. Enjoy: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kM1ATnrvXpA

2009-05-01 03:39:17 (2001 days ago)
x (1)
Grant Stephens - I stand behind everything in my previous post as absolutely accurate based upon my
personal observations and conversations with the father, the young lady and the young man with her.

2009-04-20 09:36:38 (2012 days ago)
x (1)
4-19-09 I went down the whitewater part of Elkhorn creek to find 3 helmets and 2 PFD's being
re-surfed in the dam , went further down the river to find 3 abandoned kayaks along the shore line.
Stooped in at canoe KY to report this and they were aware of a situation at the dam the previous
day in which a 16 year old girl was sucked back up to the dam in her kayak and flipped and was
re-surfed herself for several minutes until she flushed out and was washed up on the rock at the
start of the rapid and eventualy had to be rescued by the profesionals and taken to the hospital
for hyopothermmia. The moral of the story is please be carefull at the dam it is a dangerous
situation at any level. fortunatly this girl came out alright.

2007-12-14 12:32:25 (2505 days ago)
Sean O'MalleyDetails
Whoever maintains the main page for this reach might want to consider editing the info about the
fee at the putin. The one time I ran this creek, a gentleman who was either from the campground or
a friend of the campground owners made it clear in no uncertain terms that the fee was not just to
park but also to put in, even if you park elsewhere. Had I known the real story, I gladly would
have paid up front. Instead, I got to receive a lecture by someone assuming I was a cheap bastard
out-of-towner trying to screw the locals out of their revenue. According to this gentleman, the
'pay to play' arrangement is widely known among all the local clubs, etc., so I don't understand
why it's not made clearer on the AW description. Bottom line is, if I ever come back (not likely),
I'll pay the three bucks.

2007-12-08 04:00:59 (2511 days ago)
Chris StoopsDetails
At 2000 CFS it is allot more pushy; filled with lots more and bigger rapids, and 2 things I didn't
normally see were waves throughout almost the whole trip (even in the woods sometimes), and big
whirlpools behind the bridge pillars. At 2000 CFS I thought portaging the dam was simple, and I
watched two guys in a canoe do it quite simply, but I also watched the canoe sink after S-turn's
insane rapids. I saw plenty of canoes make it past S-turn just fine, but they all had extra
flotation in their canoes. I think the minimum posted CFS of 500 is the perfect minimum, because I
live in Louisville 50 miles away, and I am not driving out there unless it's at least 500 CFS and
I'm really bored that day. At 500 CFS there were 4 hydraulics total (none capable of holding a
raft), the surf section wasn't really in at all and it was almost a scrape in are rafts. We were
able to portage on the island and walk up to the other rapid on the other side, which is this big
drop. We re-ran it over and over, and my brother even ran it sitting on a giant log. When we ran
this creek at 900 CFS it was completely different; instead of a kiddy park it is actually scary
sometimes. WARNING: S-Turn can be dangerous: At 900 CFS the top of S-turn on the left; there was a
15 foot long sideways wave(it wasn't from left to right, take a normal rapid and turn it 90 degrees
so that it runs from the top of the slope 15 feet all the way to the bottom of the slope) that goes
in to a giant 3 foot tall mound, and my brother would disappear behind it for a couple of seconds
the drop was so big(about 4-5 feet). Then there was another 2 foot tall mound right after it, and
every time I ran the second one it threw me in to the island where the creek forked. One kayaker I
saw got tipped over because of the sideways wave, and that section washed up on a very shallow area
in both directions, but he climbed out just in the nick of time. I realized how dangerous the creek
can be and still headed no warning. I go to jump in my raft and miss, even with a life jacket on I
was swept to the very bottom of the creek and held there for many seconds, heading for the huge
mound. I thought maybe a huge boulder was there and it was going to smash my head, and so I punched
the creek with both my fists, skin scraping off my knuckles, I flew to the surface and my raft was
right in front of me. I jumped in it with the quickness right before the 15 foot long sideways
little curler wave. There are no mounds at all at 500 CFS. There is no 15 foot long sideways wave
at 700 CFS, but the 2 large mounds are there. I think that they are only formed as a wavetrain, and
I don't think a huge boulder is there anymore, because of what I have seen at 500 CFS: nothing. At
2000 CFS S-Turn is allot more dangerous because of how much water is flowing over the island where
the creek forks. I saw a kayaker get hurt and he even carried out. He got pinned on the island,
then went left, and then fell and got all banged up. S-turn is very shallow, rocky, and pushy if
you go left. Also where it forks it washes up on an island very hard at 2000 CFS, and pretty hard
still at 900 CFS. At 2000 CFS I recommend running the right side where I found 4 back to back large
hydraulics, and you won't have to worry about that island. The 15 foot long sideways wave was much
larger and more powerfull at this level and it almost tipped my brother's raft. The two large
mounds also greatly grew in size and even had big whitecaps on top of them. The whole entire S-turn
rapid is re-runnable at 2200 CFS, and there is two different eddies you can catch on the left to do
this. There is an awesome limestone ledge that we walk along, and we have spent hours and hours
re-running this rapid, because it's so fun and convenient to re-run (in a raft). I have seen
kayakers re-run it also. I love this creek because of it's watershed: South fork: 179 square miles
North fork: 276 square miles Elkhorn: 38 square miles (only about 10 would apply to the gorge
section). So that's a total of 465 square miles of watershed that contributes to the gorge section
of Elkhorn. Another reason I love this creek is because it has a good lag time; after it rains all
night it's ready to run the next day even in the late afternoon.

2007-10-28 10:25:37 (2552 days ago)
Christopher SchardlDetails
I am amused at recent comments about the Elkhorn, most of which appear to be jokes or from folks
who don't know the basics. The S-turn (a.k.a. Railroad) rapid is the first significant rapid after
the dam rapid. S-turn does indeed have an impressive diagonal wave, which seems to be at maximum
height around 1500-2000 cfs. If you know how to do an eddy turn, you can easily avoid it by eddying
right. If you have good balance and rudimentary ferrying skills, you can eddy left, then cut behind
that wave. You'll be parallel to some large waves below it (hence need for balance), and you'll
need to keep a vigorous paddle going, in order to avoid being washed into the island. I was once,
but no harm done. But, if you are that skilled (a solid class II paddler), you might find it more
enjoyable to crash through the diagonal wave with a right angle perpendicular to the diagonal wave.
That eddy left of the diagonal wave is good for surfers. River info on this site is an excellent
guide to running levels. It is possible to portage the dam above 2500 cfs. I have at 3500 cfs, but
it is disconcerting because you cannot see where to exit at the dam (left side) until you are
almost right there. The more important considerations are that at that level there is room there
for only one kayak at a time, and that you want to be sure to put back in well below the dam to
avoid being pulled into the dam hydraulic. Basically, if you are a novice, you will need basic boat
handling skills, and know how to catch eddies. And, you should go with someone who knows the river.
Avoiding hazards is not difficult (hence the class II rating). A couple rapids (particularly Double
Stump, below S-turn) can pick up strainers. Boat scouting is straightforward, and if strainers are
present, portages are easy. So, a good responsible guide should make for a fun trip. No guarantee
you won't swimm, but rescues aren't particularly hard. Again, this is a class II river, and a great
one to learn on. The surf waves make it fun even for class IV-V paddlers, so it isn't difficult to
get someone to guide you through. When there is water, just show up around 11 a.m., and the old
hands will magically appear soon after. This is a good rule summer or winter, just make sure to
"dress for the swimm" when it's cold.

2006-06-10 11:41:12 (3057 days ago)
AJ WoodworthDetails
I have actually ran the creek as low as 75 cfs, and believe it or not, no dry creekbed was exposed.
At that level, the creek simply turns into a Class I+ deadwater and riffle run that is a perfect
classroom for technicality 101. At that level, the S-Turn is more of the less a small ledge.
However, that level is GREAT for fishing, since the creek is very clear and the fish are easily
sighted.
I have canoed the stream up to 2000 cfs (about 1 1/2 ft.), and at that level, the dam scared the
living hell out of me, I really dont see how the stream is paddeled at levels above that....

2004-06-05 16:52:49 (3791 days ago)
tim allenDetails
Wow, what a run! major fun, but AVOID CanoeKentucky. Our first experience with them was great (i.e.
decent prices, polite employees, great water level). The shuttle was only 10 bucks each then, and
the place was staffed by a couple of guys who knew the water and could tell us the hairy spots.
This time, however, was a little different. Suddenly the shuttle is 20 bucks each, the manager gets
short with us when we try to talk to her about it ( she offered to let us put in upstream, float
down, then give one of us a ride to the truck for $20), and it's pretty obvious that she doesn't
care as much about our measly $40 bucks as much as she cared about getting the group of 20
customers paid and out the door. We left, and we won't be back. What she didn't know is that I was
also shopping for a cheap skirt for my rascal ( oops, definitely a lost sale there!) and since we
have wimpy little recreational boats, I planned on shopping there when I bought the boat I wanted.
I WOULD have preferred to give my little bit of money to a small, local business rather than a huge
department store like Dick's, but I'll be dipped in sheep butter & deep-fried before I spend
another dime at a company that that treats paddlers that way, and I kinda like the way I sit in my
new QT sport ($422.94 total at Dicks). Thank god we can take 2 vehicles, and ignore them. I guess
they ARE in business to make money, but the shuttle shouldn't be 3/4 of a rental, and it definitely
shouldn't be more than it costs to take another vehicle.

2003-05-20 15:43:35 (4173 days ago)
AJ WoodworthDetails
All I can say, is watch out for the drowing machine below the dam. If the level is below 250 cfs,
then the dam doesnt prove to be much of a hazard. I've actually seen guys run it at this level,
however, I'm not saying you should, I still say its not safe. As long as you exit on the left side,
you'll be okay.

2001-04-02 13:18:41 (4952 days ago)
Barry GrimesDetails
Info about all the various Elkhorn Gauges. --- There are 3 "visual gauges" for the Whitewater
section of the Elkhorn: 1) The US 460 Forks Bridge - this is the traditional paddlers gauge and is
on the S. Fork of the Elkhorn tributary 2) The N. Fork bridge - this is a gauge that the local
outfitter, CanoeKY has painted and roughly corresponds with the US 460 Forks Bridge. 3) The
Knight's bridge gauge - this is at the 'AW Acres' takeout and was painted to read similar to the US
460 Forks gauge but it's typically a little higher. Using the US 460 Forks bridge, anything around
6" - 10" usually means it's too low - at least for many wwpaddlers who don't like to scrape through
rocky riffles (which is essentially all that remains of the "rapids" at this level) or have to slog
through the copious number of flatwater pools between the drops. The US 460 Forks gauge has been in
standard use by wwpaddlers for years, but in reality does not give consistent flow readings. A 10"
reading in the spring can be way different than a 10" in the summer. This is because the US 460
Forks gauge is mostly measuring the S.Fork tributary and will often "under report" the additional
flow that the N. Fork is contributing. --- In addition, there are two USGS gauges that have been
used to determine flow on the Elkhorn Gorge: 1) N.Fork Elkhorn @ Georgetown - this one is way
upstream on the N. Fork tributary and was the satellite gauge of choice before the arival of ... 2)
Elkhorn Creek Near Frankfort - This is the new USGS real time flow gauge on the creek and (IMHO)
the best to use because it accurately reflects both the N. and S. fork tributaries. Based on the
"Elkhorn near Frankfort" USGS gauge I have put 500cfs as minimum wwfun and around 2500cfs as
maximum.
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